What Causes Migraines

Wouldn’t it be nice if the answer to that question was simple and straightforward?

Migraines can wreck your work life and social life in a hurry and just trying to manage the symptoms of the migraines when they happen doesn’t always work. Even though the cause of migraines isn’t completely understood, having a better understanding of what is happening to your body when it comes to migraines will help you find the long lasting solution you’ve been searching for.

Until rather recently the medical profession believed that migraines were a problem with the vascular system (arteries and veins) because so many migraine patients would comment on the throbbing, pounding, and pulsating pain in their head. This lead many doctors to prescribe medications that affect blood pressure and pain sensations, but the results weren’t great. And the vascular-cause theory didn’t explain the auras, nausea, and vomiting commonly with many migraine sufferers.

Doctors also observed that many migraine patients noticed that when they ate certain foods, drank certain beverages, smelled certain smells, and even got less sleep than normal they would get a migraine. These provocative things were labeled as triggers, but they aren’t the cause of migraines. You can do your best to avoid triggers, but that’s not addressing any underlying problems.

More recent research has shown migraines are a complex neurovascular problem. Genetics, gender, and age play a role because migraines tend to run in families, female are almost three times as likely as males to get recurring migraines, and for most people, the migraines start early in life (teens and 20’s)  and fizzle out later in life (50+).


The Scientific Explanation of Migraines

The scientific explanation of what causes migraines is; A migraine is a complex primary brain disorder that involves a cascade of events that lead to recurrent inappropriate activations of the trigeminocervical pain system. In-plane English, it means that something is wrong with the central nervous system… more specifically the brainstem. Scientists know that genetics, gender, and age play a role, but they’re not sure exactly how.

Taking all of this into account… what’s the best treatment option for migraines? Living a healthy and balanced lifestyle and avoiding your known triggers is a good place to start. However, monitoring and improving your nervous system function should be priority number one. Doctors trained in upper cervical chiropractic are the best choice because they have the technology required to monitor and, if needed, improve your nervous system function.  

Frequent use of medication is one option, but there are other options… perhaps better suited for you and your desired lifestyle.

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